The Zen Bandwagon

If you want a glimpse at what a two-party open contest for the presidency is going to look and feel like in early, lazy media speculation, check out this Daily Beast column from the inveterate gossip-monger and trouble-maker Lloyd Grove that manages to create a Rahm Emanuel for President effort out of pretty much nothing. Rahmbo himself denies it in two languages. His spox denies it. Bill Daley denies it, obscenely. Carville and Begala deny it. But still:

[R]rumors of Emanuel’s higher ambitions persist. “I heard there were some conversations with donors especially during the inauguration,” a well-known Democratic politico told The Daily Beast, referring to the January 20-21 celebrations in Washington marking the launch of President Obama’s second term. A second highly placed Democrat echoed that account.

Then Grove manages to get Larry Sabato to trash other possible candidates (other than HRC, of course) as equally implausible, and there’s your “story,” perfect for a slow-news-day Friday and guaranteed to make heads explode left and right among those few who take it seriously.

Is it possible the subject of a presidential run came up in conversations between Emanuel and donors during the inauguration? Sure: there were probably hundreds, maybe thousands, of such conversations involving every pol who has ever looked in the mirror and seen the Next President of the United States, which means just about all of them. Who among the tribe of elected officials wouldn’t watch the inaugural pageant and imagine him- or herself taking the oath and waving at the crowds? Which “donors” wouldn’t take the opportunity to suck up to them by calling them sturdy presidential timber as their tongues lolled out at the spectacle?

So another Zen Bandwagon is launched, majestic in its absurdity. Anyone finding this kind of “journalsim” excrutiating should send a note to Hillary Clinton asking her to make an early declaration of candidacy in order to put it all to sleep.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.